It’s All Hallows’ Eve girls and boys, so time for something appropriately spooky from deep within Cosine’s cobweb-strewn crypt; on the slab tonight is Dark Bit Factory forums and inspiration was taken from a Halloween demo released by Arkanix Labs for the C64 back in 2013, specifically the hidden screen.
As with the previous instalments in the series, the PureBasic source code and appropriate assets are included in the archive for those curious as to how the code works. And when you exit the demo, there’s ghostly laugh which originally comes from the closing titles of kids telly classic Rentaghost!
I haven’t done a “playing” post for quite a while, partly because I just haven’t been getting into games lately. But that changed when I bumped into a re-release of Carmageddon over on Good Old Games (there’s been a Steam release since this post was originally written). For those who haven’t played it, Carmageddon is a post-apocalyptic racer that was released in 1997 and is pretty much the closest a game has ever got to reproducing the feel of 1970s classic Death Race 2000 because at one point in development it was destined to be an official license.
In other words, although racing a set number of laps around each course will complete a stage as you’d expect, so will smacking seven shades out of the opponents to the point where they’re disabled or running over every pedestrian on the map, with the game actively rewarding the player for these actions with extra time and cash! There are also canisters dotted around the map which give a selection of power-ups; the more mundane ones provide extra time or credits but there are more powerful temporary bolt-on toys such as turbo chargers, free recovery vouchers for when the car ends up parked on its roof, tweaks to the in-game gravity or the mental Electro Bastard Ray which fires lightning bolts at pedestrians as the car passes.
Just about anything ramp-shaped can be used to send the car skywards and, although I’ve never been sure if it was by design or sheer luck, most of the time it’ll land on its wheels afterwards. The car sustains damage from impacts and these can make it difficult to control, but repairs can literally be done on the move so even the most ridiculous nose-first dive from the top of a building which smashes all the controls and decimates the bodywork can be driven away from given a few seconds and a wodge of in-game cash – truly hysterical amounts of fun can be had by doing something like collecting a hotrod power-up, aiming for a chevron-covered barrier and simply going for it, sending the car tumbling through the skies of the play area whilst the driver’s avatar is buffeted about on the Pratcam.
There was some fuss about Carmageddon on release due to the amount of violence and an unnecessary attempt to get it BBFC certification backfired so the UK release had to be tweaked with zombies and green blood, but whilst it uses what were at the time pretty realistic graphics, the violence is more like a cartoon than anything else. And although the 3D graphics have obviously dated like all 3D tends to over time, the gameplay still holds up today so I’ve already had my money’s worth from the GOG purchase with a couple of marathon sessions.
All of the screenshots have the female avatar Die Anna on the Pratcam because I’ve always selected her when playing; I have no idea why, but she does have a wonderfully sadistic laugh and says things like “I’m coming to get you” when certain power-ups are activated which I can’t help but find… erm, interesting? Yes, lets call it “interesting”.
So today I made a start on cleaning up all the spare hard disks I’ve got lying around; there’s about ten and they’ve all been pulled from a machine in the house and put to one side to “sort out later”. Of course when I actually need the USB to hard disk interface it decides to hide, so I’ve put together something else…
…which adds new and worrying meaning to the word “unstable” since that bare board is balancing precariously on its heat sync which is in turn propped up with a Gameboy Color cartridge to keep it from falling over. I might turn it into a web server next just because I can!
(For the “detail lovers”, that’s an MSI KM4M board with 1Gb of RAM connected to one Seagate and three Western Digital drives with 200Gb in total – I think the Gameboy cartridge is Premier Manager but making sure would involve moving the board!)